Skip to main content

Full text of "NightRider"

See other formats


368

I stood there and listened. A horse tromped a little over in
the bushes. Then I started walking toward the church-----"

A long time back, Mr. Munn thought, how long; but it was
as before him now, suddenly, in his mind, that open space in
front of the dark mill, that open, lighter space before which
he had paused that night, the road dipping down across it
beside the fallen rail fence, and distantly, the sound of water
on stones. That momentary prickling of the spine as he
moved into that space, alone, that was with him now, the eyes
watching from shadow.

"—and after while they took me inside and stood me in
front of a light with it in my face so I couldn't see nuthen,
and they said the oath for me to say, a little bit at a time.
And I said it." His voice stopped, ponderously, as though of
its own dead weight. Then, his bulk shifting, he said: "I
didn't know how it was gonna be, what I was getting into. I
never would taken it. Not a oath before God." His voice
stopped, leaving him there, awkward, motionless.

"Mr. Turpin, repeat to the best of your ability the
oath."

"I object!" Wilkins was on his feet. "He's leading the
witness."

" Objection overruled!"

"Mr. Turpin," the prosecutor said sharply.

" A thing," Al Turpin said, " a thing don't stick in a man's
head so good. I can't say the words, like they were. But 111
say what they went on to say. It said-----"

"I object!" Wilkins cried. "This testimony is not admis-
sible. This oath—the witness admits, here in open court,
that he cannot remember it. If the welfare of my client is to
depend-----"                                                                         *

The gavel struck the desk. "Mr. Wilkins 1" the judge ex-
claimed.

" Your Honour?"

"You will observe the proper dignity of this court, Mr,
Wilkins."

"Your Honour," Mr. Wilkins said gravely,  elaborately,